The iPad hasn’t been much of a revenue stream for Microsoft, which has been focusing on developing its own competing tablet ecosystem. But as a software company, it can’t ignore the scores of millions of Apple devices out there for long. Sure, it has a few things in the App Store, but one of its biggest earners, Office, is entirely absent. The Daily reports that this is likely to change shortly, as Microsoft is planning to debut an iPad version of their productivity suite next year.
It would be a stripped-down version more in line with their mobile apps than the desktop ones. Users can, after all, easily view and make simple edits on a tablet machine, but heavy duty spreadsheet or slide work will still necessitate a desktop OS.
The price would likely be similar to that of Apple’s productivity apps: around $10, or at any rate in that vicinity. Price parity would be the ideal, but Microsoft may feel (perhaps rightly so) that its offering is worth more to enterprise users who have adopted the iPad informally as an email and calendar platform.
On the other hand, Microsoft doesn’t need the money so much as the platform presence, so a higher price seems unlikely. Preventing the leakage of users to Apple platforms is crucial in maintaining Microsoft’s dominance in the office apps arena.
The timing just turned out to be a bit awkward; Microsoft will certainly be putting out its own native and complete solution alongside Windows 8, but the iPad’s prominence is too great to be ignored at this point, and supporting it ASAP became more important than a unified tablet infrastructure. Hence a release to satisfy impatient customers and then later the “real” Office Tablet Edition.